You’re going to see a lot of it today on social media, including from our BN Blackhawks account: #BellLetsTalk.
The backstory – the short version, at least – is that the hashtag was created by Bell Canada in an effort to raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental illness in Canada. Every use of the hashtag represents a five cent donation by Bell Canada to mental health initiatives in the country. It is recognized as the largest corporate donation commitment to mental health in the country and was started ten years ago.
— Calvin de Haan (@cal_dehaan) January 28, 2021
The initiative spreads wide across the hockey community every year. It is a reminder that we all deal with mental struggles, and that the stigma around mental health needs to change. Depression, anxiety, addictions, they are all more prevalent than you might think. You are not weak or soft. You are strong in your ability to take care of yourself and know what you need to be your best mentally and be your best self, every day.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 27, 2021
The Bell Let’s Talk Day is a reminder to check in on yourself and others, and to take time to make sure we are putting our mental health at the front of our checklists. So I encourage you to use the hashtag on social media, and more importantly, take time for yourself and your loved ones today. It has been a long and challenging year for, well, literally everyone.
Now to hockey.
• The Chicago Blackhawks extended their point-streak to five games with a shootout loss last night to the Nashville Predators. It marked back-to-back games on back-to-back nights where the teams would need extra time to decide the winner. For Chicago, they are now 2-0-3 over their last five games, which isn’t terrible but it is not sustainable and really not good enough.
• Negative: At the end of the day, the Blackhawks have lost six of their eight games played this season. Pity points or not, that will have to change if they are trying to contend for a playoff spot. Which is a long-shot at this point.
• Positive: Kevin Lankinen was awesome last night. Making 41 of 42 saves through 60 minutes plus overtime. Not much more you can ask from him in only his fourth career NHL start. He is 2-0-2 this season with a .931 save percentage and a 2.18 GAA. He ranks third in save percentage and fifth in GAA in the league amongst goalies who have played at least four games, and leads all rookie goaltenders in those categories.
"As a team we played better tonight…For me, I felt confident. I felt good out there."
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 28, 2021
• Negative: The Blackhawks have relied heavily on their powerplay to generate offense so far this season. Up until last night, it was working. But after going 0-for-4 on the man-advantage, Chicago’s streak of starting the season with a powerplay goal in each game ended after seven games. It’s the second-longest streak to start a season in franchise history. Blackhawks have scored 22 goals this season, 9 have come on the powerplay.
• Positive: Brandon Hagel has been impressing me lately. He has been effective as an energy forward since being inserted into the lineup and earned his first career NHL point last night.
• Head coach Jeremy Colliton used 11 forwards and 7 defensemen in last night’s game, taking out Matthew Highmore and putting Nicolas Beaudin into the lineup.
Colliton on going with 11F/7D tonight: "Just give us more options back there, see who’s going. I thought, as a group, they responded pretty well. Guys who needed to be better, were better. And [Beaudin] came in and gave us some solid minutes."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) January 28, 2021
• Beaudin played just under ten minutes in his first game this season. Duncan Keith, Calvin de Haan, and Connor Murphy all clocked more than 22 minutes of ice-time last night. Ian Mitchell, for the second game in-a-row, had the fewest minutes played of all Blackhawks defensemen.
• A double-Blackhawks birthday celebration as 2010 Cup Winner Colin Fraser and 2013, 2015 Cup Winner Dan Carcillo both turn 36 today!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 28, 2021
• That’s all for today. Be good to yourself and to others.